2012 Michael Johnson Dr Pepper Classic Central
WACO, Texas - Baylor's top-20 track and field teams will host a deep field in the Michael Johnson Dr Pepper Classic on Saturday, April 21 at the Hart-Patterson Track and Field Complex. The event is the lone home meet of the season for Baylor.
Among a field that features Olympians and Olympic hopefuls, the Bears will host TCU, UT Arlington, North Texas, Texas State, Stephen F. Austin and Angelo State, among a total of 24 schools. Olympian Sanya Richards-Ross is scheduled to compete in the 400 meters, while former Baylor All-Americans Tiffany Townsend (100m), LaKadron Ivery (100m, 200m), Marcus Boyd (400m) and Michael Liggins (400m) are also in the field as they prepare for their own run at the Olympics.
Field events will kick off the day at 9:30 a.m. with the javelin on the infield of the track and the hammer at the throwing fields a half-block northeast of the track. The afternoon section of running events will begin at noon and the evening section will start at 5 p.m. A ceremony to recognize the 17-member senior class will preclude the evening section.
Baylor comes into the meet looking to add to its growing list of regionally-ranked competitors that is highlighted by a total of 20 ranked in the top 25 in the NCAA. Of those 20, seven are currently in the top 10, including the Lady Bears' record-breaking Skylar White. The junior is in the top 10 in two events, sitting third in the discus with a toss of 189-2 and eighth in the shot put at 55-5.75.
Two Baylor hurdlers on the 15th-ranked women's side are in the national top 10 and will be in the field in their signature events, the 100 hurdles for sophomore Tiffani McReynolds and the 400 hurdles for junior Christina Holland. McReynolds, who is ranked in the top 25 in the nation in the 100 and 200 meters as well, is currently fifth in the high hurdles with a season-best mark of 12.97. Holland, meanwhile, is sitting eighth in the 400 hurdles with a time of 57.69, a personal-best from the Texas Relays.
On the men's side, Baylor's sprinters and middle distance runners have provided a big lift to the No. 20 team ranking this season and will be in action this weekend. In the short sprints, junior Everett Walker has made his presence felt nationally after making the NCAA Indoor Championships. He's currently ranked eighth in the 200 meters at 20.53 and 11th in the 100 meters at 10.22. Along with Walker, senior Whitney Prevost will be in the 200-meter field in the meet and looking to bring his 24th-ranked time of 20.75 down.
The pair is also part of Baylor's 11th-ranked 4x100-meter relay team that has a season-best of 39.43, but with Zwede Hewitt will replace injured leadoff Woodrow Randall with sophomore Blake Heriot. Heriot, who is ranked 10th in the nation in the 200 meters at 20.55 has experience on the sprint relay, and will also be in the 400-meter field and the 4x400-meter relay.
Baylor's 4x400-meter relay has started to find its groove after a win at the Texas Tech Open last weekend in a time of 3:05.93. Along with Heriot, Baylor's fastest team of the season features Justin Allen, James Gilreath and Zwede Hewitt, who ran a time of 3:04.67 at the Texas Relays.
Gilreath will also be in a stacked 800-meter field with talented teammates Patrick Schoenball and Gavyn Nero. The trio went 1-2-3 in their only 800 of the outdoor season earlier this year at the UCF Invitational.
In the field events, Baylor's women have provided depth with White in more events, including Erin Atkinson in the hammer throw and Jessica Ubanyionwu in the horizontal jumps. Atkinson is ranked 19th in the hammer with her school-record toss of 197-7, and Ubanyionwu is 20th in the triple jump after a 42-0.5 leap last weekend at Texas Tech.
The Michael Johnson Dr Pepper Classic is Baylor's final "open" meet of the regular with only the Drake Relays on April 26-28 lying before the Big 12 Conference Outdoor Championships in Manhattan, Kan., in mid-May.